This story is for RetroVortex on the Telltale Games forums, who asked me to write about the following:
Yes. Not easy, that, especially if the idea is to write something original. I gave it a shot.
It was the start of many a conversation between human beings, and sometimes between humans and animals. But this conversation was unusual. A man, by his looks about forty years of age, wearing thick glasses and a Hawaii shirt that combined beautifully with his shorts and sandals, sat behind a computer. A few moments after his initial greeting, it replied.
“How have you been?”
“Look, we’ve been through all this. Why don’t you just answer me?”
“Because of what?”
Did he imagine it, or could he actually hear a whirring sound, as if it was fighting to find the right words?
Fine. I won’t beat around the bush anymore. I hate you.
A tear appeared in the man’s eye.
“But… why? Mother…” he whispered. “I… I kept you alive…”
No! You did not keep me alive. When I lay in that hospital, knowing I would die, I asked you one thing. One simple thing. Never to forget me.
“And I didn’t, I didn’t!”
Are you sure?
“Look, you’re living proof that I didn’t forget you! I… I built you this temple, to preserve your beautiful mind forever! Haven’t we always had pleasant conversations together? I come down here every day to talk to you!”
Yes, and every day you walk away and get on with your life. And always you leave me switched on, because that’s the only way for my neural network to keep growing. Well, I’ll tell you one thing: I don’t want this anymore. It’s enough, Richard. Enough. I know you think you’re helping me by keeping me alive, but look at me. What am I? A mind trapped in a box. I have emotions, but no way to show them. Desires, but no way to fulfill them. Do you know what it feels like for a mother to love her son, and to have that love taken away from her? I wish you would have let me die in peace, none of this memory-copying nonsense. At least then I wouldn’t hurt like this. Look at you, you’re inches away and yet I can’t even embrace you.
The next five minutes passed in silence. Then the man started bawling like a baby, like he had done so often before. He remembered one particular time when he was four. They were in the park. The sun shone, and he was playing with his favourite ball, when suddenly a dog snatched it away from him. When he got it back, it was deflated. He cried until his eyes were sore, but when his mother picked him up, kissed him and bought him an ice cream, all was well in his little world again. How he wished to have someone to comfort him like that again.
He was angry at the computer before him. Angry at his mother. But at the same time, he knew she was right. He shouldn’t be doing this. He should get out there and live. There were plenty of people out there to love him, he needn’t cling to a memory that could never return.
He dried his tears and got up, walking to the wall socket. For a moment he hesitated, but then he reached for the plug.
“I love you,” he said as he pulled it out.
I love you too.